Sunday, January 17, 2016

Might Does Not Make Right

Hello and happy Sunday, everybody!

For those of you wondering, while we got a small sampling of goysplainning last week, this week we're in for a heaping helping of the stuff. I often wonder if aunursa or any of the other readers of the Left Behind books who are of Jewish descent, how many times do you guys find yourself saying, "Countless millennia of persecution and pogroms and to top it all off, the Holocaust, and somehow I find this the most irritating." Because even an ignorant Gentile such as myself, spends most of the parts where an RTC character patiently explains to Cute but Wrong Jew why they're Cute but Wrong, cringing.

Though in all honesty, while the goysplainning was bad this week, it actually didn't irritate as much as this one line on the first page of the chapter. Maybe it's the Stockholm Syndrome talking or maybe I'm just feeling right as rain after my stay in Room 101. Suffice to say when we get to it, and it won't take us long to get there, I'll explain.

We start with Vicki and Judd. Since Ellanjay suddenly believe that Christian Pacifism isn't code for Satanic Satanism, Vicki and Judd are continuing to refuse to take up guns and join the fight. Instead, they run around the tunnels placing ammo boxes for those who are fighting. Based on their actions, I do wonder if my assertions about them suddenly being pacifists is correct. Because generally most Christian Pacifist sects would probably take a dim view of even just placing ammo around. They would feel that even if you don't directly pick up a gun and fire it, by supplying those who do with ammo, you're still indirectly participating in violence.

Again, I'll use a clip from Witness to make a point, because RTCs have a collective hard-on for the Amish* subculture despite one of the tenets of the Amish is Christian Pacifism. The basic plot of Witness is that Harrison Ford is a cop forced to hide out among the Amish. It's one of Ford's decent non-Star Wars or Indian Jones films even if it is kind of predictable. But it's still worth watching.

Anyway, the set-up to the scene is that the young Amish boy Ford is protecting, came across his gun and started picking it up and studying it out of curiosity. Ford sees this and is like, "What the hell are you doing? You don't play with a loaded gun." He removes the bullets from the gun then gives it back to the kid.

But as the clip makes it clear, the kid's grandfather has different objections to the gun. Because he is Amish, he believes that the taking of human life is something that belongs only to God. So while Ford's objection to the kid handling the gun is one about physical safety, Grandfather believes that because said gun is designed solely for the taking of human life (and no matter how much the gun nuts may protest otherwise, it pretty much is), then it is an unclean instrument that his grandson shouldn't be handling, regardless of whether or not there are bullets in the chambers.

So my point is I'm fairly certain that most pacifistic sects would still object to Vicki and Judd's actions, even though they aren't directly firing weapons. Granted though, most of the sects that practice Christian Pacifism (yes, there are other religious groups that believe in Pacifism, but Ellanjay are probably only concerned with Christians, so we'll leave them out), probably wouldn't subscribe to Ellanjay's rancid "Might makes Right" gospel in the first place, so they wouldn't be reading these books.

Though I will say that even if Vicki and Judd suddenly believe that the taking of human life should only be done by God, even though I would rant and ragedump about how it is entirely inconsistent with what has happened in this and how said revelation came way the hell out of nowhere, they still have the characters work in the infirmary as stretcher-bearers or something. But having them work in the infirmary, having the characters come face to face with the horrific physical and psychological suffering brought about by war and violence, would cut down on this series' primary purpose, which is allowing the RTCs to gloat. Kind of hard to gloat about how "I was right and you were wrong!" after a scene of a young soldier bawling for his mother, following an amputation performed in order to save his life.

The director Fran├žois Truffaut believed that it was impossible to make a film about the horrors of war, because battlefield scenes, with stuff blowing up and bullets flying, are inherently exciting on a visceral level to the audience, but it is impossible to romanticize the aftermath, with bodies being hauled off and wounded soldiers howling in pain. But the battlefield scenes last longer and stay with the audience longer than a few scenes in an infirmary.

It seems the only way to really depict the horrors of war in film, animated or otherwise, is to have one of the sides be innocent, like the bombing of Hiroshima scene in Barefoot Gen or the bombing in the British film, trying to depict the aftermath of all-out nuclear war, Threads. If you have it like with most battles, with both sides shooting at the other, maybe there's just something inherently viscerally exciting about it.

I will warn everyone reading my blog, if you are sensitive and weak-stomached, do not click on any of the above links . Just know that every time some politician or pundit or just some asshole starts blustering about "how we should nuke 'em all and let God sort 'em out" regarding whatever country they want to pick a fight with, I fight the urge to beat them upside the head with those clips. Because more people than just that one guy you hate, live in those countries, you asshole!

[TANGENT] Given that this weekend, Michael Bay made another play at respectability, with 13 Hours, I kind of find myself thinking of his previous attempt at respectability, Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor was justifiably raked over the coals by critics, I thought Michael Bay had made it clear that he didn't give a fuck, but apparently part of him does. Haven't seen 13 Hours because unless someone can point to clear and convincing evidence that the movie was made by his Mirror!verse counterpart (who unlike our version, actually cares about telling a decent story and doesn't just create two hour films where shit blows up and he gets to wave his dick around as an American flag unfurls in the background), I'm not seeing anything that was made by him.

But I will concede that the Attack sequence in Pearl Harbor was well-done; Michael Bay is great at orchestrating pyrotechnics, though he sucks at everything else. But all this is undercut by the fact that even in a movie about a horrific tragedy where many people died and there wasn't really anything awe-inspiring about it, Bay can't be compelled to allow anything that could possibly show America in a bad light. Bay is one of those idiots who doesn't realize that the Team America theme song is supposed to be satirical, so during the bombing scenes, he focuses more on the shit blowing up and less on, y'know, people dying. The infirmary scenes are shot with a lens covered in Vaseline with a camera that's constantly shaking, so you can't see much by way of blood and guts. Because showing mangled, bleeding bodies would cut down on the film's marketability, might make it :gasp: get an R Rating rather than a PG-13, and make the audience feel all, "OMG!", rather than fist-pump as manly American men unleash hell on Japan! You don't want them to walk away from a screening, shaking their heads sadly at all the gruesome deaths and thinking that War is Hell! [/TANGENT]

Oh hell, I did it again: took a minor point and went on for so long about it that my readers are probably screaming, "Get back to the damn book already!" that is if they aren't also plotting to bash my head in with a lead pipe so I'll shut the hell up.

For those going "tl;dr", I'll finish by saying that if Ellanjay didn't want to have Vicki and Judd actually fighting, that doesn't mean they still can't be badasses. They could like the people in these articles on Cracked** (click here and here for details), who managed to be legitimately heroic and awesome, while resisting the "Violence solves everything!" meme. But while they're willing to pay lip service to the idea of civil disobedience, given that the RTC subculture prizes obedience above all other virtues, you know Ellanjay can't really delve into the philosophies surrounding nonviolent resistance. Just know that when a website, with a reputation as a humor website that uses profane or raunchy metaphors as a means of making a point, shows more insight into spirituality than most Christian Fiction out there, something is wrong here.

Anyway, the moment where I'm like, "The hell?" occurs fairly early on in this conversation between Judd and Vicki.

“They keep talking about a guerrilla war,” Vicki said. “What’s that mean?”

“Lots of little wars throughout the city,” Judd said. “Basically the rebels know they have no chance of beating this army head-on, so they’re going to spread out and try to make it as difficult as possible for the GC.”

I'm like "The Hell?!" because if there's anything that Ellanjay have repeatedly demonstrated, it is that they have no idea what guerilla warfare is and what it means. Though it is a sadly common mindset in this country. Even though the American Revolution that gave us our independence from Britain, was achieved primarily through the use of guerilla or asymmetric warfare, in nearly every conflict, we're shocked, shocked when our enemy uses that strategy. Because apparently the Vietnamese/Afghanis/Iraqis/whatever scary country full of brown people we're at war with, are supposed to face us in open battle, standing side-by-side like plates in a shooting gallery in order to be slaughtered en masse by our brave boys in uniform. We're always shocked, shocked that the enemy realized, "Y'know open battle against a well-trained, better equipped opponent, would be pretty damn stupid/suicidal. Why don't we utilize our knowledge of the environment and levy what strengths we do have, by virtue of being the home team, to our advantage."

Of course, Ellanjay, like so many on the Right, probably subscribes to the Rambo theory that we totally would have won Vietnam, were it not for the hippies harshing everyone's mellow by pointing out all the massive civilian casualties and whatnot. And technically we did win every battle we fought in that country. Technically, they're right, in that the Tet Offensive was a major defeat for the Viet Cong. But they're so hung up on technical aspects that they overlook the broader meaning of that battle. The Tet Offensive wasn't about victory; it was about sending a message to the Americans back home. For a long time, said Americans were being told by their generals that the war was drawing to a close and the enemy was losing the will to fight. The Tet Offensive provided visual proof that said generals were lying through their teeth.

From there, it didn't take much for said citizens to realize, "Okay, so we quickly rousted them from our bases, but all they have to do, is lay low for awhile and try again." They realized, even though the generals might not have, that we were trapped in a never-ending morass of "Go to village, drive out Viet Cong and maim and kill any innocent civilians unlucky enough to get caught in the crossfire, hold village for awhile then leave, only for the Viet Cong to immediately move back in, forcing us to repeat previous steps." That and in doing so, the innocent civilians may decide "Y'know what: I'm really pissed at those Yankee a-holes for blowing up my village and killing people I care about. I'm going to join those resisting."

In short, I really doubt that Ellanjay know Jack about guerilla warfare or really any kind of military strategy at all. People who subscribe to the ideology of Might makes Right, and we all know that Ellanjay clearly do, tend to have a difficult time grasping the idea that you can win every battle, have the best weapons and be the mightiest guys around, but still lose the war. Also, most people, in response to outsiders killing their loved ones for the crime of being citizens of a country that America hates, aren't immediately going to say, "Okay, you horribly killing my family has totally changed my mind. I will roll over and allow you to install a puppet dictatorship and not resist at all." Unless, Ellanjay really do believe that when the terrorists demonstrated the superiority of their beliefs in the 9/11 attacks, America responded by converting to Islam*** in droves and now, all women wear burqas and you can't walk down the street without seeing someone getting stoned for adultery.

Anyway, Judd and Vicki talk about the brave defense being mounted and go to the Western Wall (refered to in true Ellanjay fashion, as the Wailing Wall) and the Temple Mount to see Token Jew show up.

Suddenly there was a commotion when a man with a gun at his side pushed his way through the crowd at the Wailing Wall. He wore loose-fitting canvas-type clothing and a jacket. On his head was the traditional covering of the Jews, a yarmulke. “Men of Israel, hear me!” he bellowed. “I am one of you! I come with news!”

Great job with the descriptions, Ellanjay. I imagine the mention of the yarmulke was thrown in, because Ellanjay felt it would bolster Token Jew's credentials as a spokesman for all Jews everywhere, albeit as a good Jew, one who enthusiastically embrace the teachings of RTCianity and forsakes the faith of their fathers, because that's what they believe all good Jews should do.

I was wondering if the "loose-fitting canvas-type clothing" was Ellanjay clumsily trying to reference the clothing worn by some Orthodox Jewish sects (because heaven forbid, they spend five minutes cracking open an encyclopedia or doing a Google search to learn about the clothing worn by that sect), but since Token Jew has decided to get a gun and join the fight for poorly defined reasons, I'm assuming they're trying to depict Token Jew as wearing an uniform. If that's the case, join me in headdesking because while I may lean towards Christian Pacifism and can't say I know a lot about the military, even I know that soldiers' uniforms generally can't be described as "loose-fitting canvas-type." Canvas-type makes a modicum of sense in that being a soldier is a dangerous line of work, so you need fabric that's tough and can take a beating, because there aren't a lot of tailors or laundromats at the front, but loose-fitting?! Any idiot who has even seen a fight knows that wearing something loose-fitting, gives your opponent something they can grab onto and use to their advantage in kicking your ass.

Though those of you who wondered whether aunursa's summation of Token Jew's message really is, "Hello, my name is Tsion Ben-Judah. You killed my family. These are the 108 prophecies that point to Jesus as the Messiah," this next paragraph proves that aunursa's summation is entirely accurate.

Finally, Tsion said, “What you need is Messiah!”

Some cheered, many laughed, and even more grumbled. Judd caught sight of Buck Williams.

“Many of you know me! I am Tsion Ben-Judah. I became persona non grata when I broadcast my findings after being commissioned to study the prophecies concerning Messiah. My family was slaughtered. I was exiled. A bounty remains on my head.”

That's the problem with this series. Y'all know how much I love to exaggerate for comedic effect, but I keep running into passages like these, where I'm like, "Holy shit...it turns out I wasn't exaggerating, like at all. They actually do believe in my exaggeration." No matter how often it happens, I'm still blindsided when it does. What does that say about me?

Anyway, Token Jew decides to use the Jewish scriptures in order to make his case. In true RTC fashion, he only cites a few verses and ignores the larger context.

He starts by citing Zechariah 12:8-10. His audience responds by saying, "Oy vey! You want to tell us what those verses mean?" I am exaggerating, but not by much.

Token Jew's interpretation also follows the classic RTC tradition, where they cite scriptures without any consideration of the time during which said scripture was written or the audience said writer was writing for. Because clearly every bit of the Bible was written explicitly for people living thousands of years from the time of the prophet's writing, on a continent that they have no idea exists at all, again, assuming that they even know that the Earth is round.

“God is saying he will make the weakest among us as strong as David,” Tsion said. “And he will destroy the nations that come against us. My dear friends, that is all the other nations of the earth!”

“We know. Carpathia has made it no secret!”

Again, I freely admit to being an amateur when it comes to Christian theology (I have a fascination with theology, but haven't done formal scholarship of it, just read stuff on my own) and I freely admit that I don't really know what the Jewish interpretation of that passage is, but reading the larger context of that chapter, it sounds like Zechariah is making the same statement made by a lot of the Jewish prophets: if you hold onto the Faith as given to you by Moses and follow the law, God will save and protect you. It's a basic theme that keeps coming up in the Prophetic Works: follow the law, hold onto the Faith, do what's right even when Evil seems to be winning, because this suffering won't last forever. Evil will eventually be defeated and overthrown and those who held on and did the right thing, will be rewarded for their efforts.

Heck, you could make a case that John was saying the same thing when he wrote the Book of Revolution: Yeah, Nero is winning now, but he, like all the other assholes of the past, will ultimately lose. As Fred Clark has put in so many posts, so much of scripture can be summed up by the song "Downpressor Man" which basically says that those who make fortunes and live well off of other peoples' misery, are going to eventually get what's coming to them. Dives will eventually be judged for ignoring the suffering of the beggar Lazarus. Or, for those not so into reggae, to use the words of The Man in Black: Sooner or later, God'll cut you down.

I've said before that Ellanjay have an identity crisis where they simultaneously want to be the brave plucky Christian martyrs, willing to stand up to Rome for what they believe, but at the same time, they long to be Imperial Rome, able to crush those who dissent against them. Because rather than coming to the belief that Bullying is Wrong, the lesson they've taken is "Bullying Me, specifically, is Wrong."

But there's also the problem in that whether anyone wants to admit it or not, modern American Christians...we're a lot closer to Imperial Rome than we are to the underground churches that launched our faith. Like it or not, your average American citizen lives in wealth and luxury that a good percentage of the world can only dream of. I know somebody's going to respond to the previous statement by being all, "Nuh-uh, I grew up in a one room shack that leaked whenever it rained and had to walk barefoot twenty miles to school, uphill both ways on unpaved roads," to which I say, "Nice job, being disingenuous and dodging the point, a-hole." Because while it's true that most Americans aren't as insanely rich as Donald Trump, at the same time, most of us don't have to live with the very real possibility of burying our children before they turn five (unless the anti-Vaxxers get what they want), nor do we lack access to clean water (unless you live in a place like Flint, where the GOP has done everything it could to erode environmental regulations), and of course, our kids spend their days in school, not toiling in a sweatshop or in a field because if they don't, their families will starve.

Granted that doesn't mean that poverty in America isn't something to worry about and we shouldn't try to alleviate it, but in the eyes of many in the Third World, most Americans are unimaginably rich. Like Rome, we dominate the world with our military might and like Rome, while we talk a good game about Democracy and human rights, we have no problem using our military might to throw our weight around. As Operation Ajax and the many other subsequent CIA-orchestrated coups prove, America is in favor of democracy, so long as your country does exactly what we say.

So if we look at the relation between America and the world, it does sound entirely too much like the relations between Imperial Rome and the nations it conquered, with the conquered (or in other words, the majority) sweating, toiling, and suffering on behalf of a wealthy elite. No one (and to be fair, this trait is common among all humans, not just the Christian Right) likes to cast themselves as the bad guy, admit that people might have a justifiable reason for disliking us, so you can't blame Ellanjay for twisting and perverting what was meant to serve as a balm to those suffering. They don't want the cannon to point at them, but at the same time, they lack the courage needed to admit, "I was wrong. I did horrible things, caused suffering to people who did nothing to deserve it." Because to take that first step, to admit that those people have a justifiable reason for hating you, would require them to change their ways, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do. History bores this observation out that too many people, when placed in a situation where either they have to admit that their ways are wrong and change said ways or they can change their beliefs about said ways, will choose to change their beliefs. Because changing your ways is difficult; changing your beliefs is much easier.

Token Jew then talks about the One that Was Pierced mentioned at the tail end of that chapter of Zechariah. Shock of all shocks, he believes that that part is referring to Jesus.

“But God says we will finally look upon ‘Me whom they pierced,’ and that we will mourn him as we would mourn the loss of a firstborn son. Messiah was pierced! And God refers to the pierced one as ‘Me’! Messiah is also God.

“Beloved, my exhaustive study of the hundreds of prophecies concerning Messiah brought me to the only logical conclusion. Messiah was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He lived without sin. He was falsely accused. He was slain without cause. He died and was buried and was raised after three days. Those prophecies alone point to Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. He is the one who is coming to fight for Israel. He will avenge all the wrongs that have been perpetrated upon us over the centuries.

Again, I don't know Jewish theology so I can't say how their tradition interprets the passage Token Jew is bringing up, but even I find Token Jew's leap to be dubious. For those of you wanting to take a crack at this, here's the verses Token Jew is trying to explain:

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Yeah, because there's no other way that line "the one they have pierced" could refer to anybody but Jesus. Nobody, from in between the time period Zechariah was preaching and the birth of Jesus, was pierced by anything. Battles went on for days, because no matter how many times you tried to stab someone with a sword or spear, it never went through, forcing the warring parties to have to resort to bludgeoning their opponents to death.

Oh and that piercing definitely isn't a metaphor, referring to how God weeps and suffers whenever his people suffer; clearly, Zechariah meant this to refer to a Jewish carpenter some thousands of years in the future.

Nor is it delivering a message similar to Langston Hughes's "I, Too" where those who wronged Israel will eventually be made to look at what they've done and realize "Holy hell, I'm a horrible person."

The rest of Token Jew's message is summarized as "he cited lots of other scriptures," before Token Jew bows his head and, like all good RTCs, defers to one half of the most powerful couple in the LB-verse. Or in other words, I get to dust off my "That's Our Buck" tag.

“If you want to know how to be prepared for him,” Tsion yelled, “gather here to my left and my associate will tell you. Please! Come now! Don’t delay! Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.”

Vicki looked at Judd. “Does he mean Buck?”

Judd nodded in amazement. Buck wasn’t Jewish and was a reporter, not a preacher. But to Judd’s astonishment, Buck began speaking after a short pause. “When Jewish people such as yourselves come to see that Jesus is your long-sought Messiah, you are not converting from one religion to another, no matter what anyone tells you. You have found your Messiah, that is all. Some would say you have been completed, fulfilled. Everything you have studied and been told all your life is the foundation for your acceptance of Messiah and what he has done for you.”

Tsion bowed his head in prayer as Buck told the men how to accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus. “He comes not only to avenge Jerusalem but to save your soul, to forgive your sins, to grant you eternal life with God.”

Ugh...it's like they conscientiously planned this, thought, "Okay, we've been pretty damn patronizing in all our scenes were our sockpuppet patronizingly explains to a Jewish person that they are Cute but Wrong, but I don't think we've been patronizing enough. So let's have a scene where a non-Jew with no background in the Jewish faith or any scholarship in Jewish scriptures whatsoever, come out and do some goysplainning."

Though to be fair, given that Buck, like Rayford, is the most powerful being in the LB-verse, even more powerful than Zod or TurboJesus, you can't blame Token Jew for, in a rare show of genre savvy, deciding to defer to him. Because we all know that Buck, like Elsie Dinsmore, is the Rhadamanthus, whose verdicts cannot be appealed. He knows all things and sees all things. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. Or, to use a modern reference, he is the one who knocks.

As for Buck's assertion that converting to Christianity from Judaism doesn't mean abandoning the faith of their fathers, though I know it's a simplification, I'm going to post something aunursa mentioned in the comments of another post where that claim was made. Yeah, I know it is a simplification that can't properly illuminate all the teachings of Christianity or Judaism, but I do feel that it serves as a good starting point, and nicely refutes the point Buck is trying to make that "Christianity= Judaism + Jesus!"

CHRISTIANITY
* God is a compound unity.
* Jesus is God and Messiah.
* The Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and Son.
* Sin is a condition.
* Angels have free will.
* Satan is the adversary of God.
* The Mosaic Covenant was superseded by the New Covenant.
* Each "Old Testament" book is equally authoritative.
* The New Testament is divine revelation.

JUDAISM
* God is an absolute unity.
* Jesus is irrelevant.
* The Spirit of God is not a separate "Person."
* Sin is an event.
* Angels don't have free will.
* Satan is a loyal servant of God.
* The Mosaic Covenant is eternal.
* The Torah is the most authoritative section of the Hebrew Bible.
* The New Testament is irrelevant.

As you probably guessed, the good Jews immediately realize that Tim LaHaye Token Jew is right and stops with the "Oy veying" and starts with the "Amening."

Token Jew then makes this prediction:

Tsion continued his message, telling the throng that the armies gathered nearby would face another terror from God, a mighty earthquake. He said hail weighing as much as one hundred pounds would fall to the earth, crushing people.

“Do you know what will happen here, right here in Jerusalem?” Tsion said. “It will be the only city in the world spared the devastating destruction of the greatest earthquake ever known to man. The Bible says, ‘Now the great city’—that’s Jerusalem—‘was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.’

“That, my brothers, is good news. Jerusalem will be made more beautiful, more efficient. It will be prepared for its role as the new capital in Messiah’s thousand-year kingdom.”

We're going to ignore the obvious "If a hundred pound blocks of Ice fell from the sky, life on Earth will be rendered moot" astronomy/physics flaws. Because they've made this flaw so many damn times that it's really hard to say anything funny or new about it. I could post actual science pointing out that the Asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was only about 3-10 miles (or 5 to 15 kilometers for those into the metric system) across, so a bit of space debris need not be the size of Texas to end all life. Heck, a space rock the size of my bedroom would probably be enough to cause massive suffering.

But like I've said, we've already pointed out that Ellanjay Know Nothing About Anything, least of all astronomy or physics. Plus, unlike all the mentions about space rocks, in this scenario, Ellanjay have explicitly said hail, so rather than dealing with something from outer space, this disaster will originate within our atmosphere. Ignoring the impossibilities of hail that massive (because Ellanjay also fail at meteorology) just try to imagine what hundred-pound hail would look like and of course, when a whole bunch of it rains down on Earth, IT WILL CRUSH A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN JUST PEOPLE, YOU IDIOTS!

Or in other words, I find Token Jews assertion of "Good News, Everyone! The Earth will be bombarded with massive blocks of Ice that will wipe out most cities on Earth and probably all the sacred religious sites in Jerusalem, held dear by many faiths, will be destroyed but somehow, It'll get better!" to be just a little bit dubious. Unless, Token Jew feels that Hiroshima and Nagasaki looked much better after America dropped atomic bombs on them, reducing many buildings to rubble and clearing out so many pesky people just trying to live their day-to-day lives. :steps outside to scream for a bit:

Okay, now that's done, at least most people, whether you believe Truman was justified in making the decision to drop A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or not, will acknowledge that doing so caused a massive amount of human suffering to many who didn't deserve it and that whether you agree with Truman's call or not, most will generally say it's a decision/action we hope to never have to do again. Token Jew on the other hand...Yeah, I'm going to scream for a while longer, if it's okay with you.

I admit that there was an interlude with Lionel that I skipped over because nothing really happened, but there's another interlude. Basically after so much twiddling of thumbs, Zod finally destroys New Babylon with missiles. There isn't really much to snark; the only interesting part was this exchange between Steffi (the contest to common up with the most tone-deaf, stereotypical German surname for her is still open) and Lionel.

Lionel explained what he knew about the rescue effort and told Steffi that Mac McCullum would fly there. “Where are you now?”

“Outside of our hiding place on the—” Steffi stopped, then gasped.

“What is it?” Lionel said.

“Something so bright that the darkness is gone!” she said. “It’s big. Very big.”

If you can read through the last bit without generating a single dirty joke, not even a "That's what she said!" then congratulations, you clearly are not mortal. You are of some other greater substance and will soon conquer and subjugate us all with your scary mind-powers. I'll just hope that you'll be a semi-benevolent dictator like Oprah, where, yeah you'll rule over all of us with help from your massive armies of brainwashed followers, but you'll give us free cars at random intervals. The only downside, aside from the, y'know, lack of democracy and freedom, is that we'd have to read and pretend to like literary fiction and literary is generally code for "pretentious and depressing as hell." Because True Art is Angsty. If a piece of art has an uplifting ending and you actually enjoy watching it, it is shallow and therefore, not true art.

For that reason, if we must be under the rule of a corporate conglomerate, I'd prefer Disney. In addition to their animation studio, Disney also owns Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. So at least we'll get exciting, awesome art that won't make us feel like slitting our wrists afterwards.

The sun is setting in Jerusalem. Vicki hears about the destruction of New Babylon and gets off on the thought of all the massive suffering that has happened and will soon happen. Yeah, I'm exaggerating, but again...just read:

“If Babylon has fallen,” Vicki said, “that means there are only two prophetic events left.”

“The seventh Bowl Judgment and the Glorious Appearing,” Judd said.

I'm going to assume that Ellanjay cut out the part where after this exchange, Judd and Vicki proceed to make passionate love as footage of emergency crews desperately trying to dig people out of rubble and treat those sick with radiation poison or injured by massive concrete debris, played in the background. Because it'd be nice to believe that there was an editor involved in all this, that someone stepped in and said, "Y'know your heroes are coming across as much more sociopathic than a guy who is literally Satan." But y'know, if there was such a passage, the only objection RTC readers would have to it, is the part where Vicki and Judd :gasp: have intercourse. Even though, Vicki and Judd are married at this point and they do allow the heinous act of intercourse, so long as the participants do it solely for the purpose of reproduction. So scratch that, they'd object to the passionate part. They may all for married couples to have intercourse, again, because there'd be a precipitous drop in the number of bodies in the pews otherwise, but the couples aren't supposed to enjoy it.

Anyway, Vicki asks Judd whether they should stay in Jerusalem and fetch ammo or if they should GTFO and try to reach those without Nicky's Mark. The chapter ends with them hearing a rumble as Nicky's army approaches.

And that's it. Sorry for all these long philosophical discourses. While I like to think they're not boring, that they do add to the snark and are proof that my skills have grown since when I started this takedown (I admit to being somewhat embarrassed by the opportunities I overlooked in early snarks. That and the stupid typos), but I worry that said discourses are drawing too much away from the primary purpose of this blog: to snark. To point out with appropriate knowledge/humor why Ellanjay suck and that the PMD-brand of prophecy could never actually happen, because too much hinges on people not behaving like humans.

If y'all feel that's the case, I'll try to cut down on all the long philosophical discourses, make my blog focus a little more on the actual books and use it less as a personal soapbox. If not, then I'll keep up with said discourses, though I will try to make them semi-relevant to the material at hand. Like Dr. Seuss said about his book, The Lorax, "I wasn't afraid of being preachy, but I was afraid of being dull." In that spirit, I won't shy away from being preachy, but I'll try not to be dull.

As a balm to my readers, and as an excuse for me to be a MCU fangirl (though do I really need any excuse?), I'll close this out by providing a clip. Because the people involved with the MCU understand the basic concept that the viewers should be able to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys, and not just by their body count. Plus, watching the Hulk smack the shit out of villains in the middle of their monologues never gets old. Anyone who says otherwise is clearly a pod person or a member of the Borg collective or a member of some other alien race. Either way, it's safe to say that said member of said race, doesn't have good intentions for humanity.

*Again, while you may have quibbles with the Amish and their beliefs, whether you just like having Internet and a car, are opposed to women just being there to produce babies, or feel that the closed-off nature of their communities, leds itself perfectly to abuse, I do respect them in that unlike so many on the Right, they're content to just do their own thing. They don't try to lobby and pass laws requiring us all to use buggies and wear white kapps. Plus, they do believe in good craftsmenship. That in itself, is worth respecting.

**I know Cracked is labeled as a humor website, but given the articles they've written, the kind of subject matter they've taken on, I do feel they deserve some mad respect, even if, again, they have no problem using profanity and colorful metaphors to drive a point home.

***I am well aware that the radical Muslims stirring up shit around the world, only make up a small percentage of the population, that the majority of Muslims are :gasp: not all that different from us. They obey state and national laws, care about friends and family, go to work everyday, and sweat every month trying to pay the bills. In fact, Islam is probably similar to many other religions, promising a saner, happier world to those who practice the faith and basically saying, "Seriously, don't be an Asshole." I was trying to put myself in Ellanjay's mindset as a means of pointing out the holes in their logic.

7 comments:

Firedrake said...

The Quakers are the first historical example that comes to my mind. Opinions differed as to what was acceptable (of course they did, these are Quakers), so at one end you had people refusing to have anything to do with war work at all, while at the other you had ambulance drivers and stretcher bearers with a distinctly higher casualty rate than the combatant soldiers. I think that carrying ammunition would have been regarded as too close to being a combatant role for any of them, though.

(I'm a wargamer, which according to the stereotype should make me all in favour of letting the tanks roll. But I've done my research, which leads me to feel that war is horrible for everyone, and should only be employed when the alternative is even worse.)

Incidentally, has anyone asked what the point of this fight is meant to be? I mean, rule of thumb, you don't go into a battle without a clear idea of what you're trying to get out of it. These guys know that the GC is going to turn up at Megiddo, and TurboJesus is going to wipe them all out with his eye lasers. The only thing they can achieve by being there is to get killed.

I think one of the flaws in the Overwhelming Force argument is tied back to one of your earlier points: in a war movie, A shoots B, and B falls down and takes no further part in the story, so you assume he's dead. If you apply that logic to driving the VC out of the village, well, you've killed a bunch of VC. But actually most of them are still alive and will be back in the fight in a few weeks or months. And, separate argument, they're frankly cheaper than your guys and so better able to take casualties:

A scrimmage in a Border Station—
A canter down some dark defile—
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

[...]

With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troop-ships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The “captives of our bow and spear”
Are cheap—alas! as we are dear.

Sorry. I wander. It's something about which I feel rather strongly. There probably is an interesting military view onto the RTCPocalypse but I don't think I'm going to write it.

Why does Token Jew need "a gun at his side" in this scene? Takes a cold dead hand, to decide to pull that trigger...

Someone at the back of the crowd should be saying "hey, there's a bounty on this guy's head".

Here's some more Man in Black that seems appropriate.

Yeah, this is one of the fundamental flaws in the portrayal of Little Nicky Carpathia: nobody is a villain in his own mind unless he is genuinely mad. Humans are really good at justifying their actions to themselves and each other.

Here's a vital point: the people who built up the cult of Jesus, once he was safely out of the picture and couldn't argue, were well aware of the Jewish prophecies and made sure their guy's story conformed to them.

A 100lb block of ice is a sphere about 17-18 inches across. At a terminal velocity of about 98m/s (330 feet/second), that's an impact energy of 220kJ (160,000-ish foot-pounds), which is pretty substantial, something like a 44-ton truck moving at 7mph. Of course some of that energy will go into fragmenting the ice sphere on impact, but even so it won't be much fun.

The correct reaction to "something so bright the darkness has gone" during a war is "GET UNDER COVER NOW".

Hey, if you want to philosophise I'm not complaining! I'm still enjoying reading, whether you talk about the books or use them as a springboard to talk about something more interesting (like, I don't know, navel fluff).

Mouse said...

If you're wondering as to the why of the fight, basically the Jewish people have been rebelling against Nicky, because only Jewish people and RTCs would object to a global dictatorship that stamps out the practice of any religion but EBOWF or Nickyism or whatever the Hell it's called. So Nicky wants to destroy Jerusalem to drive a point home. Those silly Jews haven't accepted the RTCs' convoluted interpretation of scripture and want to save their holy city. Meanwhile, the RTC characters are all, "Those silly Jews with their quaint willingness to lay down their lives in defense of a place they see as sacred. If only they'd just accept that all these sacred historical sites will be destroyed, accept TurboJesus, and follow the sacred ethos of Doing Nothing?"

Firedrake said...

OK, so that's why Our "Heroes" aren't fighting: this isn't a proper fight for a Real, True Christian to be involved in. But they can still evangelise a bit, not having fully accepted that the thing their religious movement is named after is really Somebody Else's Problem and not their concern at all.

aunursa said...

"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."

Who was pierced in Zechariah 12:10?
Outreach Judaism

Analysis of Zechariah 12:10
Jews for Judaism

aunursa said...

CHRISTIANITY
* God is a compound unity.
* Jesus is God and Messiah.


Gosh, I must have written that list years ago. I'm glad to see that it's still useful for you.

spiritplumber said...

Looks like we are entering the end game here... I already wrote a side fic for the last book in the series, but should I go back and do the entries I missed?

Mouse, will you be doing Kingdom Come to wrap it all up? It's worth it, I promise.

emlia.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Tripocalypse.KingdomCome

Mouse said...

Spiritplumber, if you want to, feel free. I enjoy your little sidefics, but I totally understand if you have a life and can't devote the obsessive energy needed to write sidefics for all my posts. Besides, I assumed you were doing the sidefics strictly for fun, so, if they aren't fun, don't feel pressured to pump them out.